A powerful prayer
This is a high energy passage that I will be going over with you for your encouragement. From the very day the leaders heard about the Colossians or had direct dealings with these Christians they did not cease to pray for them.
The very first truth that they prayed for was that they would be filled with the knowledge of His will but with all wisdom and spiritual understanding. Only God can impart these gifts to us so this does take much intercession before God because it is not going to be granted the average person if they just stay natural.
They prayed that they might walk worthy to the Lord and please Him and one of the ways we do this is to be fruitful in every good work but we have to be reading the Bible on a regular basis because increasing in the knowledge of God is usually when the Holy Spirit speaks to us in our minds and hearts. By the way we can also pray this prayer for ourselves because most people reading this article would lack in a couple of areas.
They desired to be strengthened with all the power of the Lord but the leaders of the church wanted it done by His glorious power but with patience and longsuffering with joyfulness. Since the prayer warriors were very specific we should catch every word of their intercession because this is where we should desire to be in our walk with God.
They gave thanks to God the Father but for a very specific reason which I will talk about later in the article. There was a reminder that they were delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of His dear Son. When we got saved through Jesus Christ His Light extinguished the darkness in our life. We received redemption through His blood and our sins were forgiven.
Let me just quote the original text of Colossians 1:9-14. I certainly urge you to read this and perhaps make reference to it for this particular study in the Bible.
(9) "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (10) That ye may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (11) Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; (12) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: (14) In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:9-14.
Paul was reassuring the Colossians who he did not even know through prayer but in a very specific way with detailed theology but very simple. Once again the Apostle was given several reports on how this church was doing so he was very familiar with these Christians. Paul had heard they were good but prayed that they even might be better but not in their flesh. The Apostle made it very clear that this must be done in the Person of Jesus Christ.
One of the first things the Apostle Paul said was that we are not ceasing to pray for you. There were multiple leaders of the faith praying around the clock for them. This should give us a clue that we are to pray for others around the clock in the middle of our busy or non busy days. The original Apostles did this so we should follow their good example.
I don't mean to be taken wrong but we can also pray for ourselves especially if we are struggling with something that is bigger than us and is causing us to stumble. This is us as Christians confessing that we fall short of God and desire to be in good standing with Him. If someone comes to our mind it is just practical to pray for them. Why waste a thought?
Paul prayed that they would be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. If we have an empty perception of a biblical truth then this has no significance in our life. If we can not apply the Godly precept to our daily living then for all practical purposes this truth does not mean anything to us as believers in Jesus Christ. Our knowledge of the will of God must always be practical because we must not only know the biblical truth but apply it to our lives. Our knowledge is only a blessing when it is in the wisdom of God but it has to be taken to the next level for our particular circumstances.
This does take prayer because it is one thing to know a biblical truth but it is an extended truth when the Holy Spirit shows us how to apply this to our lives. We really should be filled with the knowledge of God for His will but just like verse ten says we should desire more knowledge of God because the more we know the more we realize how much we do not know.
Obviously proper biblical knowledge without living right will not be any use to us as Christians. This is why Paul says that they may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing. We have to agree with God in the way we live in our faith so we can be pleasing to God but also to people in a righteous way.
Paul also desired them to be fruitful in every good work. Our words must match our works and we will struggle with this issue for the rest of our life whether it be Jesus Christ coming for His church or our passing on to glory through death to be with the Jesus Christ forever. As you probably know I hold the position that this is not easy but difficult.
One of the points Paul may have been trying to make is the more fruitful we are in good works the greater ability we will have in increasing in the knowledge of God. Just like life is always in motion God desires us in spiritual movement to strive forward in our spiritual walk with Jesus Christ. If we stay stagnant were not giving the Holy Spirit a lot of room to work in our heart.
Paul wanted them strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power. If we have spiritual life we need spiritual strength. For this to happen we need to be empowered by the grace of God for our good works and strengthened by the Holy Spirit for our labor to God but also a guard against evil. I hope you are seeing this is a two way relationship with a Christian and God.
This is one passage that gives us several examples that we as believers in Jesus Christ must corporate with God because if we do not we will go in the opposite direction away from God. This is why I say (1) this is not easy and (2) we are always in a process of getting right with God. We already got saved through Jesus Christ but these principles take diligence. If you think Christians can be passive you need to understand the only believers in Jesus Christ that walk right with God are those that count the cost and obey God through faith in Jesus Christ.
By the way we are strengthened in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, not ourselves. If we are strengthened in ourselves it becomes --- look at me. Our lives must revolve around the Person of Jesus Christ. In our journey through earth this grace is for our innocence and our trials but on a divine level it is for His glorious power. Obviously we should pray that we are victorious in Jesus Christ.
Let me make this very simple. If we have the grace of God by experience in our hearts this is the power of God. We all have weaknesses but if we want to communicate strength it has to be in His power for His glory.
Paul gets more specific regarding this subject of strength in all patience and long - suffering but with the joy of the Lord. We need to be strengthened because we do have troubles in life but on our part we need patience and long - suffering. Not having patience is like quitting and long - suffering is having the same spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our trials are actually a gift from God and we are to be grateful to God. The bottom line is we are to bear with our trial as long as God desires us to be long - suffering. The trouble and time is the business of God but the patience and long - suffering is our decision. I know most Christians do not think this way but the mere fact that we are accounted worthy to suffer for His name is supposed to be joy. Do you really think we could do this in our own strength?
In verse twelve Paul urges us to give thanks to God the Father. Keep in mind Paul is praying for the Colossians but we draw wisdom from this intercession for our lives. Grace and thanksgiving go hand in hand. Paul reminds them that they were delivered from the power of darkness. This means we were saved from the bondage of sin. We were translated into the kingdom of Jesus Christ. This is light and purity. This means we were in the possession of the devil at one point in our life. Now that we are saved through Jesus Christ we are in the possession of the Son of God.
Paul talks about the inheritance of the saints or Christians in verse twelve. God gives grace and glory but more specifically His glory is the inheritance of the saints in light. This is an inheritance that belongs to us but let us never forget that it is a gift from God.
This is obviously not darkness but the Light of God. The grace of God meets us and makes us eligible for this heavenly inheritance. We are partakers because we were designed for heaven and are being prepared for our eternal home. Are we still upset with our trials with this biblical truth? If we are a child of God we need to be educated in our hardships because we are His sons. It does cost us when we are struggling with problems but God says He will give us payment in our inheritance through His Son Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul talks about Jesus Christ being our Redeemer. Paul writes about the Son of God as distinctly as God and being our Mediator. In verse fourteen this verse says, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:14. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins I would stronger urge you to do this and invite the Son of God into your life. We that have accepted Jesus Christ into our life have redemption through His blood and our sins are forgiven. Nobody else can do this for you so of course I am hoping and praying that you just made this all important eternal prayer but the choice is your decision. I can not imagine Jesus Christ not being in my heart and life.
God Bless you,
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Thursday, January 24, 2019
So many blessings that only God could count them
Paul states his position before God that he is an Apostle of Jesus Christ but only by the will of God. If we have a position in the kingdom of God it better be sanctioned by the Triune Godhead. Paul does not forget Timothy his brother in Christ. They had a very close relationship with each other and their bond has always been very positive in a warm way, unlike Mark who Paul seemed to have some fundamental problems with as a person. If we have a special bond with a Christian please do not take it for granted. Tell that brother or sister that you appreciate him or her.
Paul acknowledges to the Christians and all the faithful brethren of Christ in Colosse and he gives the most gracious response by saying ... "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." They were obedient to God so he blessed them which is just one more addition to the warmness of God if we desire to follow His Son, Jesus Christ.
Paul felt so good about this fellowship that he actually gave thanks to God because he was so encouraged and he made sure he prayed for them always so we should engage in the same thing. If a person comes to my mind I will try and pray for them; however, I am so busy that the outcome is not always ideal if you know what I mean. I also want to point out that Paul speaks a little more simple to Colosse as opposed to the Philippians because he had direct contact with the latter but Epaphras had far more hands-on ministry with the Colossians.
An example of what I just said is ... "Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus"... this is evidence that Paul had to go by reliable hearsay from good sources but I believe he really got excited when love was so present in this fellowship to all Christians. We really need to follow this same great example of the Colosse fellowship.
Paul was so optimistic at their spiritual progress that he talked about their hope laid up for them in heaven which we all as Christians should have; however, if we do not have this hopeful truth in our life more than likely some kind of sin/sins is present in our journey and we need to deal with our transgressions.
Paul reminds them that they were incredibly blessed to be presented with the gospel of Jesus Christ to begin with but also adds that this very world was receiving the saving message of the Son of God. Paul explains that they were very fruitful for God but it was because they heard the correct message from the very beginning and they kept abiding in Jesus Christ with both inward and outward obedience to God.
Paul then acknowledges their pastor Eparphras who he referred to as a fellow servant. A minister is the boss of the church but first and foremost this person of God is a servant. This pastor was able to give a good report to Paul that the Colosse church had love in their spirit. We need to check our spirit everyday and make sure we have the love of God in our spirit. Let me quote Colossians 1:1-8 so you can read the original text and perhaps refer back to this passage in the Bible.
(1) " Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, (2) To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (3) We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying for you, (4) Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, (5) For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; (6) Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: (7) As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; (8) Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit." Colossians 1:1-8.
Paul refers to himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God not only because it was true but because I believe he desired to do his best. I joke around with myself because the hardest part of my job is getting to work because I know it will be a difficult time all day long. I say, "Go to work" and this other part of me says no but I always talk myself into going because I know I have to make a living and put food on the table.
When I arrive at work I just fall into character and I really want to do a good job. We may grumble a little when Jesus asks us to do something very difficult. Christians are not supposed to do this but we are human with doubts and insecurities. Every time I stepped out in faith I desired to do an extra great job because my heart was in the right place with the whole Triune Godhead. I am sure the Apostle Paul wrestled with all these emotions but when our spirit is right with God things will fall into place and divine truths will begin to unfold as we step out in obedience to Him.
Paul and Timothy worked together and he even saw him as a son but here he calls him brother. I only have one non relative that calls me son and not only do we have a friendship but she has seen me in several visions which most of the time gave me encouragement. There was only one time that the Lord allowed her to see me in a horrible light at one of my worst moments. Well at the very least it made me think and that is when I personally do my best in a serious state of thought. I do not believe everything is as simple as most people in my life come across but that is just the way I am as a person.
Paul calls the Christians in Colosse saints and the faithful brethren in Christ. The most favorite expression that Paul enjoyed using so many times was, "In Christ." This should give us a clue that as believers in Jesus Christ we are to be focusing on being, "In Christ." What better way to live but if we sense that we are drifting away from this our God is gracious enough to bring us back into proper fellowship with His Son because He sees our heart. God understands we live in a world that has virtually nothing to do with His Son Jesus Christ. It is His pleasure and delight to bring us back into an abiding relationship with His Son which by the way was the Apostle John's most favorite biblical expression (abide in Jesus Christ). Two different sayings but they both mean the same thing.
As I already explained Paul says to the church at Colosse that they are brothers and saints. It was Paul's way of saying I want you to be good to Christians (brothers/sisters) and faithful to God (saints). Faithfulness and character go hand in hand with our Christian life. Since our journey as believers in Jesus Christ down here on earth is a test of character we might as well be faithful in obedience to God. Paul also wishes them grace and peace which is the full favour of God and all the blessings that come with this wonderful gift.
Paul gives thanks to them because he had a high appreciation for them but also understood that all good comes to us through God. He said in essence you have faith in Jesus Christ, love for the brethren and then Paul tells the Colossians their hope is laid up for them in heaven. Notice how simple this is --- faith in Jesus Christ, love for the brethren and hope laid up for you in heaven. Faith, hope and love are the three graces in our Christian life. The more we fix our hope of reward in heaven the more we will be free of our earthly treasure which can be bondage if we do not see this as a gift from God.
Paul talks about the word of truth of the gospel which is the grace of God in truth through His Son Jesus Christ. Verse six simply says if we have the Son of God in our hearts we should tell other people. Why keep it to yourself unless you are living like the devil which will bring more harm than good?
The moral is we should be living right and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to a dying world because most of the time they don't even know they are perishing and on their way to the horrible place. Most people think everything is right with themselves and God but they do not even know Jesus Christ. They have been blinded. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your heart as your very own personal Savior and Lord then now may be a good time to repent of all your sins and invite the Son of God into your life. I certainly hope you just made that all important eternal decision.
Paul calls Epaphras who was the teacher at the church of Colosse a faithful minister and a fellow - servant. They were co- laborers in the work of the Lord especially since they were engaged in the same service for Jesus Christ. The minister or the members at the church of Colosse did not have a problem with the spirit of love. This is given to us by the Holy Spirit if we are willing to receive this wonderful gift of God.
God Bless you,
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Encouragement for youThere are only four more verses in the book of 1 John. In the second Epistle of John there are only thirteen verses in the whole book. Most of these verses are saying the same truths that John reviewed in 1 John; however, some are unique. I would like to go over the last four verses in 1 John and select some uplifting verses in the book of 2nd John because I do not wish to go over the same biblical content with you that was already reviewed in previous articles.
If we are truly born again we really do not want to sin. Wise Christians will keep themselves so the devil will not be able to touch them. If we are in reach of demons sin is the next stumbling block that will confuse our minds and hurt our hearts. I will explain as the article progress what ... "But he that is begotten of God keepeth himself " ... because we should be on guard. If we leave our guard down then that is when the problems start in our life.
We are children of God through His Son Jesus Christ and verse nineteen says ... "The whole world lieth in wickedness."
We have an understanding not only that Jesus Christ is true but that ... "We are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ."
We are also instructed by the Apostle John to keep ourselves from idols. If there is one thing I learned about the subject of idols is it comes in various abstract forms more than it comes in obvious forms. Let me quote 1 John 5:18-21. You will be able to see the original text and make reference to it if this is applicable for you and this particular Bible study.
(18) " We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (19) And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. (20) And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (21) Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen." 1 John 5:18-21.
We have a new nature because upon acceptance of Jesus Christ in our hearts the Holy Spirit dwells in our spirit. The more we allow the Holy Ghost to shine through our hearts the less we sin. In this case we are fortified against demons destructive ambushes in our life.
It is our duty to be on guard against the enemy 24 hours a day. We need to pray a prayer of protection to God before we go to sleep. When we wake up the very first thing we should do is once again pray to God. I would rather not tell you what to pray for because that is between you and God. Remember the Holy Spirit dwells in you and will guide your words to God through His Son Jesus Christ. By the way the mere fact that we are on guard against the devil is a reality of the power we have in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Humanity is divided into two parties. One group belongs to God and the other belongs to wickedness. We belong to God, we are of God, we are from Him, we are to Him and we are for Jesus Christ.
In this passage the Bible says the whole world lieth in wickedness. I love to see Christians demolish the devil's dominion that he has in this world and see souls being translated into the Kingdom of God. Christians are supposed to be enlightened in the knowledge of the true eternal God who is Jesus Christ.
When we give Jesus Christ our devotion the Son of God leads us to the Father and have the love and favor of both because when we are in union with our Lord we are in union with His Father. At the end of verse twenty this passage says ... "This is the true God, and eternal life." Isn't it comforting to be united to the true God and eternal life?
We should let our light and love guard us in the Person of Jesus Christ. We need to flee from any false gods in this wicked world. Jesus Christ is our God. False gods can not forgive us of our sins nor can they give us eternal life. We need to have faith, love and obedience in Jesus Christ. He is the Living and true God. He is the one that is going to receive glory and dominion for ever and ever.
At this point we have finished the whole book of 1 John and I did promise you that I would quote select verses in the book of 2nd John which has thirteen verses in the whole book. Many are what I would refer to as repeat verses that the Apostle John already went over in the book of 1 John. Be encouraged as you read these blessed verses.
"For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever." 2nd John 1:2. I am just going to give you a general analysis of each verse. Jesus Christ dwelleth in us and He promises His children that He will be with us for all eternity.
" Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love." 2nd John 1:3. We are obviously very rich in Jesus Christ. Grace, mercy and peace to us from both God the Father and Jesus Christ but this is given to us in truth and love.
How could we possible receive this from the world? I don't see much grace, mercy or peace and if it is given it is rare. God the Father and His Son desire to bestow this on us with truth and love. If you can be blessed enough for someone to do something for you with a good pure spirit and no strings attached then you are receiving more than most people in this world.
"I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father." 2nd John 1:4. To walk in truth is to not walk in a lie which is the essence of this world. No wonder John rejoiced when he heard this but it was not just because they were obeying God; therefore, being glad that these children of God through Jesus Christ were not being pulled into the deception of life gave the Apostle John such incredible joy.
"Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward." 2nd John 1:8. Obviously I went over very detailed in previous articles how we are to give ourselves an honest evaluation before God.
As sincere Christians the loss of those things we have worked for is bad because to get a full reward in heaven will last for eternity. I do not know much about this subject of rewards in the afterlife. John is only speaking in general terms to continue with strong faith in Jesus Christ. If we "Look to ourselves" ... by giving "Ourselves" an honest judgment before God about our hearts and lives the implication in this verse is to continue to labor for Jesus Christ with the right motives until He returns for His church.
There is only one more verse I can go over in the book of 2nd John which is only comprised of thirteen verses because once again the other verses that are in 2nd John I reviewed at least once in previous articles. The Apostle John is repeating himself because it is a different book and many various people read both first and second John. To make this simple John had to review the same biblical truths so everybody would get the messages.
"Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full." 2nd John 1:12. That was just a very warm and kind statement John wrote to his audience. When we meet someone face to face with the right loving spirit our joy does become full.
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord now may be a good time to repent of all your sins and invite the Son of God in your life. You have probably read this article but to personally get to know Jesus Christ is something more intimate. The Apostle John desired to speak to his audience face to face so their joy might be full. This same principle applies to anyone that has read about Jesus Christ but does not know Jesus Christ. The Son of God desires to speak to you face to face that your joy may be full.
God Bless you,
Friday, January 04, 2019
Eternal life, requests and how to pray for Christians
This is a very interesting study because the Apostle John says so much in a small group of verses. If we truly believe in the Person of Jesus Christ we have the Holy Spirit as a witness inside our spirit. If a person does not believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God then this individual is calling God The Father a liar according to 1 John 5:10. This person does not believe the record that God gave of His Son.
I find the word "Record" a very interesting choice of words. Did you know that everything gets recorded from heaven on this earth? Everything we do from beginning to end is being taped along with our thoughts and attitudes.
John uses the word "Record" again in verse eleven to reiterate his point and assures us we have eternal life through Jesus Christ. Most denominations are false brands of true Christianity and many think they have the Son of God living in their hearts but half truth and half lies will keep a person away from Jesus Christ if they absorb what they are being taught.
If we have the Son (Jesus Christ) we have life but if we do not have the Son (Jesus Christ) we do not have life. A person that does not know Jesus Christ in a personal way is dead in his or her sins and headed to a place of death better known as the second death.
In verse thirteen the Apostle John says two times that if we believe on the name of the Son of God we have eternal life.
We can have confidence in Him because if we ask a request to God in the will of the Triune Godhead Jesus Christ will hear our prayer. I think it is interesting that the Holy Spirit put a condition in verse fourteen regarding what we will receive from God. John goes deeper and explains that when Jesus Christ does hear our prayer/prayers we can know that ... "We know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him." I will explain this in a more detailed way as the article progresses.
Verse sixteen is quite complicated but in the most broad sense of the word we should be very concerned if our brother falls into sin. The Holy Spirit gets very specific as to our part in the stumbling of Christians but I will delve into this deeper after I quote this passage.
We need to understand that all unrighteousness is sin and should be very alert to staying clean before God. This is not an easy process but very rewarding in the end. Let me quote the passage I will be going over which is 1 John 5:10-17.
(10) "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. (11) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (12) He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (14) And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: (15) And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him. (16) If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. (17) All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death." 1 John 5: 10-17.
Our strength is in Jesus Christ. People should see this evidence on the outside but it is our heart that people will be able to sense because I have seen this happen many times. There are certain speakers I can listen to and feel their spirit and just take comfort in knowing they are on the right path in the Person of Jesus Christ. These people usually testify what Jesus Christ did for them in their soul. I can see Christ formed in these Christians and they are growing in the fullness and perfect image of the Son of God.
John goes on in verse ten talking about the sin of unbelief. This person either does not believe God sent His Son into the world or that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God.
When we accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts we were given eternal life through Him because a person that is united to the Son of God is united to life. This is a "Life" that most people around us do not have in their spirit. If someone refuses Jesus Christ which can be done in a blunt or casual way he or she obviously does not have eternal life. If they continue on this path they will face the second death. I have read several verses on this and heard many testimonies on the reality of hell. This is one place you do not want to find yourself in because it is a horrible existence.
John was writing to believers in Jesus Christ to comfort them but also that they might keep abiding in Jesus Christ. A Christian is either moving forward in their faith or they usually do nothing and become lukewarm. The Apostle did not desire this for his readers and wanted them to continue trusting Jesus Christ.
We really should bring all of our needs and desires to God all day long even in our busy routines. Verse fourteen says our prayer must be in line with the will of God. If this is the case we should have confidence that our intercession will be heard in heaven. If our requests before God are heard and accepted then our prayer will be answered but in the timing of the Triune Godhead.
Now we have arrived at the final two verses in this passage that I am going over with you. I will make a confession to you in that I never really like extremely difficult verses because I am a very simple man. I just pray to God that the Holy Spirit will give me wisdom in the name of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle John devotes an entire verse in how to pray for others regarding their sin/sins in their spirit. First I want to say that before we get into praying for other people we better check ourselves and our spirit regarding our transgressions. If we are not right there is no way we can apply this biblical principle before God. If this is the case "If" the person we are praying for heard our silent prayer he or she may ask, "Who are you to be praying for me?"
John makes a distinction in that there is a sin not unto death and a sin unto death. God will chastise ( discipline) us for sin/sins but He also holds the right to put us through a horrible trial that is completely unrelated to our transgressions. Our role is to stay strong in Jesus Christ especially when we are weak.
This divine chastisement has nothing to do with us because the degree of pressure that the Triune Godhead applies to his children is solely up to God.
There are many opinions on this verse because John never really defines what a sin unto death is but I believe the general direction will help considering the serious nature of this subject.
When a Christian is trying his or her best and commits transgressions but does not mean to do this then that is not considered willful sin. They are blindly committing these sins but trying to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. They are trying to serve God with the right spirit but have an ignorance to what they are doing regarding repeating the same sin/sins over and over again. This could also be the Christian that openly admits he or she has a besetting sin but is having a hard time forsaking the transgression.
This passage does not say we can not in a loving way confront the person but it does imply we can pray for their forgiveness. We all should be confessing our sins everyday. Even more specifically verse sixteen says we can pray for life in this person. Jesus Christ is the God of life.
Even though they are Christians in one way or another a little or large part of them died on the inside of their spirit. We are allowed to intercede for them but be very detailed in that Jesus Christ Himself has to be made manifested in their soul through problems and hardships. You would be surprised at the results that may be seen through consistent prayer behind the scenes for this type of believer in Jesus Christ.
In the sin unto death the Apostle John can give no promise attached to our prayer for them; therefore, when we intercede for them the prayer is conditional. Let me say the same thing in a different way. This verse does not say we can not go to the throne room for them but it does say that no promises are attached to this sincere prayer.
With the first type of Christian (the believer in Jesus Christ that is not willfully sinning) there is a promise that the Holy Spirit will eventually bestow His peace and love breaking through their spirit. In the first case the Christian is trying his or her best but a besetting sin/sins keep rising to the surface. This person may not even realize or understand the transgression. That prayer should be more geared that said Christian be placed under the mercy of God.
The second type of believer in Jesus Christ needs to come to conscious repentance before God. By the way we can also confront this type of Christian in the spirit of love. We need to pray that the Holy Spirit reveals to them their willful sin and come to earnest confession to God through Jesus Christ. They are in serious trouble and nothing short of true repentance is going to deliver them out of possible contamination in their heart so our intercession needs to be, "God please show him that he is in direct willful disobedience to you and needs to repent and forsake his sin."
Remember this verse is only talking about our prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ dealing with sin in their lives. It is not our job according to this verse to say, "He crossed the line" or "That person will spend eternity in this place." We do not know the answer to these questions. Ignorance is one thing, being willful is something entirely different so we need to believe in the power of prayer for Christians but before this we have to know how to intercede for that individual.
I am going to give you two stories that are true. In one case a Christian lady tried praying for her step Dad but God spoke to her verbally and said, "Do not pray for him because he committed the unpardonable sin of unbelief." There was another case when this man tricked a Christian lady into signing a contract for videotaping porn movies for one year. A Christian lady tried to pray for him and heard an audible voice from God saying, "Don't pray for him."
I do not know how to say this except to try and portray to you that people cross the line with God everyday in this world where there are approximately seven billion persons on this earth. Only the Triune Godhead understands where that line is drawn but this should speak a very loud message to us in that open rebellion against God will not go unpunished.
As Christians we should be trying to get or stay right with Jesus Christ every day of our lives. We will have some easy days but we will also have some very difficult times when God may seem light years away from us as believers in Jesus Christ. Praying for Christians and unbelievers is our duty and we should engage in this with knowledge and wisdom based on the guidelines of the Bible.
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord now would probably be a good time to repent of all your sins and invite Jesus Christ in your life. It is sad when a person has open rebellion against God. It is also sad when a person is just indifferent toward God with a couple of vague opinions and just live their life apart from Jesus Christ. If you just made that decision to accept Jesus Christ into your heart do not fall into rebellion or indifference because God desires us obedient to Him.
God Bless you,